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Woody Creek Distillers Opens Near Aspen

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Laurel Miller, a Boulder, CO-based food and travel writer who also has earned the remarkable title of "cheese consultant," is giving us the skinny on the newest center of spirits in the Roaring Fork Valley. You'll be seeing more of Laurel next week, as she'll be taking over Curbed Ski for Editor Ryan Dunfee, who will be spending the week in Jackson Hole on vacation/assignment for another of his ski-related employers.

Add "seed-to-sip" to your list of food geek terminology. Basalt's hotly-anticipated Woody Creek Distillers celebrated its grand opening this week. The 10,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility is the largest craft distillery in Colorado, and the first legal operation of its kind in the Aspen area (and yes, it will be easy to find around town).

Founders Mary and Pat Scanlan and Mark Kleckner have spent the last year constructing the super-styley, green distillery and tasting room (think Colorado beetle kill pine construction and zero-emissions distilling equipment), as well as farming some of the raw ingredients for their premium, small-batch spirits at the Scanlan Family Farm in Woody Creek. Their gin is made with wild-crafted local juniper, and the clean, syrupy potato vodka is produced from high-starch, Polish Strobrawa potatoes from the farm. The water? Rocky Mountain spring, natch.

A whiskey and bourbon made with Olathe corn and a pear eau-de-vie from Paonia fruit are also slated for release this year. Says Kleckner, "The distillery is running at full-tilt. We want to showcase the incredible quality of our farm and neighboring Colorado farms in each and every bottle of Woody Creek Distillers spirits." We'll drink to that.

If hand-picked, hand-crafted, and hand-bottled are magic to your ears, swing by the tasting room Weds-Sat., noon to 7pm; distillery tours are by appointment only.

· Wood Creek Distillers